New drink and drug driving law starts today

Filed in Just In by June 28, 2021

A NEW law imposing harsher penalties on drivers with a combination of illegal drugs and alcohol in their system has come into force today.

First time drink and drug driving offenders will now face a minimum licence disqualification period of twelve months for mid-range offences and 18 months for high range offences.

Between 2015 and 2019, 98 people were killed on New South Wales roads as a result of a driver or rider having illegal levels of alcohol and illicit drugs combined in their system.

The new ‘Four Angels Law’ honours Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah, and Veronique Sakr who were killed by a drunk and drugged driver in a crash in Oatlands last year.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said research shows drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash if they are under the influence of both alcohol and illegal drugs.

“The Four Angels Law sends a clear message to drivers that this reckless and life-threatening behaviour will not be tolerated in New South Wales and they will now face harsher penalties,” Mr Constance said.  

“You’re not only putting your life at risk when you get behind the wheel with drugs and alcohol in your system, but you could also kill your passengers, other road users and innocent pedestrians like Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique,” he said.

The families of Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique said the Four Angels Law is an important legacy for their children and will help to put a stop to road trauma.

“No one deserves to go through what we are going through. No one deserves to die on the road. No one deserves to die the way our kids did, to drugs, alcohol and speeding,” Leila Abdallah said. 

“Our four beautiful angels were taken from us in the most terrible way. We now live in constant pain and we wake up to this every day. This law is their legacy to put a stop to more tragedies, pain and suffering,” she said.

“This new law, in honour of my daughter Veronique and her three cousins, represents a significant change in the law recognising the devastating impact of drugs and misuse of alcohol in our society, specifically on the roads,” Bridget Sakr said.

“We can only hope that this new law, combined with the never forgotten impact of our family’s tragedy, means everyone stops and thinks before they get in a car when they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This includes not just drivers but also passengers and other observers,” she said.

“Everyone has an obligation to speak up and step in when they see a person attempt to get behind the wheel who shouldn’t, whether it is because of the impact of drugs and/or alcohol.  We really believe the Four Angels Law will save lives on our roads in New South Wales,” said Ms Sakr.

The new combined offence includes:

  • Minimum licence disqualification periods starting at twelve months for mid-range and 18 months for a high-range first offences;
  • Alcohol interlock periods to reduce the risk of repeat drink driving;
  • Police able to impose vehicle sanctions for high range combined first offences, and all second and subsequent offences;
  • Penalties for second and subsequent offences around double a first offence.

More information about the Four Angels Law can be found here.

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